April 03, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 89

Day 89 – At Sea. The winds this morning are from the East at a brisk 25 MPH. The moderate seas are running about 4 to 5 feet, the temperature a pleasant 79. The skies are overcast and the humidity 90%. Visibility is about a mile. The ship is stable as we have a following sea.

The ships around us are much closer as we are approaching the straits at the south end of the Red Sea. I won't attempt to spell the Arabic name but it translates to "gate of tears".

Barbara's talk this morning is about Israel. We will visit two ports there, but not for about a week. It is doubtful I will do anything beyond my scheduled shore excursions, as our arrival on Saturday will find most everything closed including public transportation.

This afternoon I will listen to Timothy Runyan share some stories about the Red Sea. He is one of the best speakers we have had on the cruise. He does not read from his notes, or read power points, his speaks clearly and concisely, and adds enough humor to his presentations to keep the audience attentive.

Surprisingly there has been little new strange behavior to write about lately. I'll just speculate that I have seen it all by now. That statement is sure to precipitate some new observations in the days ahead.

Yesterday I learned what happens when the safe in the room doesn't work properly. I was able to open it, but then I couldn't lock it. Call the front desk and they send a person with a hand held "safe cracking tool". It communicates with the safe to override and reset the electronics to a default code of "0000". I've tested it several times since she reset it and it appears to now be OK.

The crew does an excellent job in keeping the ship clean and looking "ship shape". The upholstered chairs in the Crow's Nest, and I will assume elsewhere, are shampooed about once a month. Today the sports deck is being scrubbed with a floor scrubber. Yesterday a crew member was working his way along the corridor by my cabin repainting all the door frames. If he does all the passenger decks, it will probably take him more than a month before he finishes.

Also yesterday was the day for my cabin attendants to clean behind the TV. How do I know? In the process they knocked the power plug loose just as they did last month, and I had to get them to fix it. Fortunately they were right down the hall and the fix took less than 5 minutes.

Unfortunately one thing that doesn't get cleaned is the outside of the Crow's Nest windows. Most ships, including this one, usually have some type of mechanized system to clean windows that are difficult to wash by hand. On the Amsterdam, it is either broken, or otherwise isn't used. The windows are covered with a mixture of sand and bird droppings. Looking through them is nearly impossible. I will point out that the outside windows on the bridge two decks below are spotless.

Years ago there were different classes of passengers on ships. First class, second class, etc. Well today there is still a class designation that develops in beverage service, I'll specifically talk about the Crow's Nest. At the bottom of the pile are those individuals that are infrequent customers. They will be the last to be served. The bartender doesn't know who you are until you present your card for payment.

Next up is the frequent, but not regular customer. He visits often enough that the bartender knows you by name, and by drink if you always drink the same thing. If you sometimes have a soft drink, and other times a gin & tonic like I do, he will ask what you are having tonight. Frequent customers, being like most people, are creatures of habit and will prefer to sit in the same general area each time, if not the same chair.

The next group are the true regulars. They always drink the same drink, and show up at a specific time, but not necessarily at the start of happy hour. These customers will walk in and find their beverage waiting for them at their favorite spot. No wasting time to order with these guests. Sit and start drinking.

The top of the pile are the "elite guests". They don't order regular beverages from the bar. They have their own private bottle. At the appropriate time the bartender pours it and puts it on the bar or table at the correct position. The customer comes, drinks his beverage or two or three, and leaves. No swiping cards for these customers. If their bottle is getting low, they will bring another on their next visit or it just magically appears. There are only three of these customers on the Amsterdam that I am aware of, two of them I know. They cruise the Amsterdam frequently.

Tonight is another "Gala" or formal night. I give the dining room another try. They have several more months of experience and fewer passengers. The Filet half of the surf and turf is excellent, the company of Jackie, Jim and John enjoyable, and the service is better than most of my previous experiences in the dining room. About 25% of the chairs are empty.

The entertainer tonight is a Tom Jones imitator from the UK. Tomorrow is another sea day, and we also set our clocks back another hour tonight, I can always use the extra rest.